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    Is it possible to be accepted on to and be capable of completing a PhD without prior Masters experience? I'm now in my 30s and just starting my Physics PGCE but want to do a PhD in about 10 years when the kids are much older. If necessary or wise ill try to fund a masters but with the PGCE being funded at that level I don't think I'd get any financial help... although I should only need to do a couple more modules.

    So, do I need to redo any study nearer the time to get accepted or can I wing it on experience?!


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    Going straight into a PhD without a Masters is more common in the Sciences than Humanities, certainly. Appropriate professional experience might help if it's directly related to your proposed research, but your biggest problem will be the lack of an academic research track record. It's not really so much about study at PhD level, more about your ability to take primary material and formulate new/innovative ways of interpreting or re-interpreting it. A Masters would give you that background. Plus in the Sciences, much PhD-level research is collaborative, so a track record in group research would be an additional advantage.

    There's very little funding available for Masters courses anyway, so I doubt doing the PGCE will disadvantage you hugely. The funding that exists for that level is insanely competitive and very difficult to win - although again, the Sciences are marginally better funded than Humanities (just don't bank on that being the case in ten years' time). There's no equivalent of the undergrad student loan/grant system. From my own experience and that of my colleagues, Masters courses are usually funded from personal savings, commercial loans (although even Career Development Loans are becoming more difficult to access) or indulgent relatives.
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    It's definitely possible to do a PhD without a Masters (I am doing so), but it's hard word. Additionally, your main problem will be the gap between your degrees. Unless you really keep up on all your maths and physics skills, you'll really struggle, and I think most programmes will prefer to admit those who have done a degree more recently.
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    Hmm, we'll ill be teaching gcse physics, the maths will be more of a problem. I'm intending on teaching a-level physics as well so that should keep me on top of the maths a bit better but ill need to keep studying the degree books to learn the material better. I'm hoping with bring surrounded by students it will help me!

    Is it possible to get into research at universities on a voluntary basis at all? It may take w while to get into full time teaching positions next year anyway.

    My ultimate aim is to do the phd and then teach part time and lecture part time at a uni off the back of that on geosciences so if be looking at a geophysics phd topic. Perhaps there is another way to do it though?


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    There's always the four year Integrated PhD course. This geophys one from Southampton has flexible entry rquirements and you can start from a "good" undergrad degree, use the course to gain a Masters then continue to the full PhD.

    http://www.southampton.ac.uk/oes/pos...ed.page?#entry

    The first year is essentially a taught Masters, with Year 2 a mix of additional focussed teaching and supervised research, and Years Three and Four as independent research.

    Your next problem is working out how you're going to fund it. "Note that funding is not available for this programme from either the University of Southampton or NERC", so you're financially on your own as far as the uni's concerned.
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    In Science/Tech subject its much more common to do a combined Masters/PhD program.

    For Humanities or Soc Sci, then a Masters is now a defacto prerequisite. Without a Masters you are almost certain not tobe able to apply for funding.

    As others on this Board have frequently pointed out, the problem with postgrad is usually not getting a place, its getting the funding. A good place to look for funded places is www.jobs.ac.uk (scroll down to the bottom of the initial page to 'Scholarships'). Most schemes are advertised between now and Easter so keep checking back regularly. AND - dont underestimate how long it takes to get all the paper work together for a funding application, so dont leave it until the last minute.
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    (Original post by Rainfaery)
    It's definitely possible to do a PhD without a Masters (I am doing so), but it's hard word. Additionally, your main problem will be the gap between your degrees. Unless you really keep up on all your maths and physics skills, you'll really struggle, and I think most programmes will prefer to admit those who have done a degree more recently.
    How much of a problem is this? I'm hoping to apply for a PhD in a very applied/experimental area of Physics for 2014 entry but it would be a gap of 3 years since finishing my degree. I have been in relevant employment doing research though in the meantime. Would I stand no chance?
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    Relevant employment would usually be considered an advantage, from what I've seen. Some places actually prefer PhD candidates with some "real world" skills relating to the proposed topic, especially research-based.
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    As an aside, one university that I know accepts humanities students for a PhD without a Master's is Trinity College Dublin; however, in order to secure funding, either internal TCD scholarships or Irish Research Council funding, it seems more and more that a Master's is a desired prerequisite.

    I agree with the others that it is much more common to go straight into a PhD in the sciences, or to do a combined Master's/PhD programme. However, my experience (which is very anecdotal) is that it is considered desirable to do a Maths or Physics PhD soon after your undergrad, as otherwise your skills deteriorate, as Rainfaery said, and certainly this seems to be the case among all the maths & physics people I know. However if you can manage to keep your knowledge up-to-date in the intervening period (which may be very very challenging) then there's no harm applying for things!
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    Many people do PhD's after finishing their bachelor's. I think your problem might be in that you're taking a 10 year gap, which would mean that both your skills are likely to deteriorate in that time, and that you're also not up to date with new developments that happened in those 10 years.
 
 
 
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